Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I'm loving pottery class. Really thinking (hoping I have the money) of continuing to go back. I realized last night that in this world of clay, "Advanced" means throwing larger pots. Seeing as I made the personal rule to not throw more than 5 lbs. of clay at a time, I think I'll keep that for now. But I did throw a few bowls, a coffee mug and some sort of little pitcher that I'm not sure will make it to firing or not. Above is my wheel all set up to throw. I'm sitting down, which at the end of each evening, my back complains about, but alas, there are no standing wheels in a yurt.

Above we have a small bowl I threw which matches the one from last week, but smaller. I think they're going to turn into wide nesting bowls for pasta, decoration, or whatever else strikes my fancy. The coffee mug got a nice pulled handle and is sitting on its rim to get the curve in the handle to set properly. I like pulling handles, so hopefully more things that need handles will come along.

I saw these beautiful lidded casseroles (not pictured) that a fellow student made last night and was instantly filled with inspiration and envy. Beautiful round shape, lovely handles, really the kind of thing I like to use. I am not quite sure I'm ready to jump into covered dishes yet. I know I should try, but I think I'll try some bottles next week before I start bigger things.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Making pottery, again!

I started taking a pottery class last week. It's at Glen Echo Park in Maryland. It takes place in a yurt. I was very nervous going in. I haven't thrown since the early summer of 2008. That's three years ago. I signed up for the Intermediate/Advanced class, figuring that I'm close to one of those two things. I mean, I got an associate's degree and worked for potters, right? I showed up, nervous as a kid on the first day of school. Everyone was incredibly nice, and the instructor gave a me a great tour of the facilities. Small, but clearly very productive.

I just threw to get myself back in the rhythm of what clay feels like and how I work with the wheel. I kept my bad habits in mind (I still use too much water when I throw) and just kept making cylinders, cutting them in half and seeing how I was doing. Not bad. I really focused on making my rims as well, as I had the bad habit of reaching the end of a piece and it had no rim. That was night one.

Night two I had plans. Plans for bowls. I wedged my clay, sat myself down and got to work. I threw several nice things, but nothing up to my standards. Plus, I kept cutting things in half, just to see what my wall thickness was, how my rim proportion was, you know, the things that, if you enjoy pottery, makes the piece so much better looking and feeling. It takes a lot of work to make it happen. The people sitting next to me kept wondering why I was destroying what seemed to be perfectly good pieces. I tried to explain that I hold myself to a very high standard.

All that said, I have 5 more weeks of making work! And, I kept a coffee mug and a bowl. I might just keep on taking these classes if it goes well.